Without privacy, GSA would be ‘worthless’: Alberta teacher
An Alberta teacher believes gay-straight alliances would suffer under a United Conservative government, despite the party promising it would ensure Alberta clubs are the most protected in Canada.
UCP Leader Jason Kenney announced on Monday a plan to revert from the School Act to the 2014 Education Act if elected premier.
The change would mean an undoing of the legislation that prevents school officials from telling parents when their children are in GSAs.
“It seems to me it's a total step in the wrong direction. How is taking away students’ privacy and their safe space a good thing?” asked one teacher, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of facing disciplinary action.
While the Education Act does include Bill 10, which enables GSAs, the UCP challenged Bill 24 and its protections for GSAs when it was brought in by the Alberta New Democratic Party.
Kenney said the UCP supports GSAs but that it would be up to an educator to decide whether it was in a child’s best interest to have their parent know they were involved in a GSA.
“And I think that would be very rare,” he said on Tuesday. “Probably only dealing with very young kids or kids with unique emotional and mental health challenges.”
He added that it would not be mandatory for schools to inform guardians, and that he believes involving parents could, in some cases, benefit children.
However, the NDP and LGBTQ2S+ advocates said the move would put students at risk.
“GSAs and your ability to join them with your privacy respected saves lives,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley said on Tuesday.
The president of the Alberta Teachers Association told CTV News he believes Bill 24 provides clarity to teachers who face pressure from parents or school boards.
“That provided comfort for teachers because they knew where they stood. They weren't going to be put in a conflicting situation,” Greg Jeffrey said.
The anonymous teacher said the protection also enabled students. Without their privacy ensured, he believes youth wouldn’t join GSAs anymore.
“The GSA or the inclusion club would be worthless.”
A rally in support of GSAs is being organized for Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Alberta Legislature.
With files from Sarah Plowman